Overview of Buried Pipelines Under Seismic Loading

by Leon Ru-Liang Wang, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, N.Y.,
Michael J. O'Rourke, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Technical Councils of ASCE, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 1, Pg. 121-130

Document Type: Journal Paper


Damage and response behavior of buried lifelines, such as submerged tunnels and gas, water, and sewer distribution lines, subjected to earthquakes are reviewed. Current design practice, analysis procedures, code provisions, and the latest published research are considered. Damage surveys indicate that pipelines with flexible joints (rubber gasket), buried in uniform firm soil experience less damage during earthquakes. The seismic response behavior is governed by the displacements of the ground. Ductility to allow pipeline movement is the most important factor in designing such systems. Various passive design practices, such as carefully selecting site locations, ductile pipeline materials, and providing fail-safe systems are presently being used to mitigate the effects of earthquakes. There are no code provisions in the United States to design buried lifelines for seismic loads. Engineers and researchers are working toward developing seismic design codes for buried pipelines.

Subject Headings: Buried pipes | Seismic loads | Seismic design | Pipe materials | Damage (structural) | Earthquakes | Standards and codes | Pipeline design | United States

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